Posted by CF
on Oct 15, 2012 in General
| 24 comments
One of the best ways to cut down on food costs while eating healthy is to grow as much of your own food as possible. This past summer marked our first attempt at growing a balcony garden AND our first opportunity at a community garden. There were some ups and downs, but overall, it was a very rewarding experience. Financially, I think we did okay!
Balcony garden costs:
- $12: 3 bags of dirt
- $3: plant food
Community garden cost:
- $40: registration ($20 per plot – we had two plots. Technically, it only cost us $20 because we found $20 on the ground one day!)
- free: dirt, containers, and starter plants (2 zucchini, 6 tomato plants, 2 squash plants, herbs)
- $5: 2 tumbler tomato plants
- $10: herbs, kale, pepper, green onion, lettuce, choy and butter lettuce seedlings
Overall, we spent around $70 in start-up costs. Some things didn’t work out – the onions never took to the soil and tended to wilt before we could harvest them. The lettuces were not split adequately and crowded each other, reducing yields. The kale was an aphid disaster and the squashes fought a constant battle with fungi. However, we still ended up doing quite well. Below, I list our harvest, including the approximate store cost.
Total harvest from the balcony garden:
- 3 bunches watercress (3 x $1.50)
- 27 tumbler tomatoes (2 boxes x $2.50)
- 4 bunches thyme (4 x $2.50)
- 2 bunches oregano (2 x $2.50)
- 3 beans (this was just sad so I’m going to ignore it…)
Total harvest from the community garden:
- 150 julliette tomatoes (15 boxes x $3)
- 42 tomatoes big – Lemon Boy, Mr. Stripey and Oxheart varietals (~14 lbs at $0.79/lb)
Total value: $117
As you can see – we came out ahead! Woohoo! And my price estimates are conservative and based on traditional produce. It does not take into account the fact that our produce is completely pesticide free. :) Considering that, I would argue that we saved even more money! Admittedly, we do not include the cost of working in the garden each week – watering, planting and weeding, for example. However, it was enjoyable work for us and no less effort than going to the store and waiting in line to purchase less-than-fresh produce.
We are definitely happy with our results and we will be planting again next year :)
How did your 2012 garden turn out?
This post also appear on Life as Mom’s Frugal Friay.